The Uncanny Valley of the Virtual (Animal) Robot

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Abstract

In this paper we explore whether the uncanny valley effect, which is found for human-like appearances, can also be found for animal-like virtual characters such as virtual robots and other types of virtual animals. In contrast to studies that investigate human-like appearance, there is much less information about the effects concerning how a virtual character’s animal-likeness influences their users’ perception. In total, 162 participants evaluated six different virtual panda designs in an online questionnaire. Participants were asked to rate different panda faces in terms of their familiarity, commonality, naturalness, attractiveness, interestingness, and animateness. The results show that a robot animal is perceived as less familiar, common, attractive, and natural. The robot animal is interesting and animate to users, but no big differences with the other images are found. We propose future applications for the human-(animal) robot interaction as tutorial agents in videogames, virtual reality, simulation robot labs using real-time facial animation.In this paper we explore whether the uncanny valley effect, which is found for human-like appearances, can also be found for animal-like virtual characters such as virtual robots and other types of virtual animals. In contrast to studies that investigate human-like appearance, there is much less information about the effects concerning how a virtual character’s animal-likeness influences their users’ perception. In total, 162 participants evaluated six different virtual panda designs in an online questionnaire. Participants were asked to rate different panda faces in terms of their familiarity, commonality, naturalness, attractiveness, interestingness, and animateness. The results show that a robot animal is perceived as less familiar, common, attractive, and natural. The robot animal is interesting and animate to users, but no big differences with the other images are found. We propose future applications for the human-(animal) robot interaction as tutorial agents in videogames, virtual reality, simulation robot labs using real-time facial animation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages419-427
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 7 Aug 2019
EventThe 10th International Conference on Robotics in robotics in education - Wollzeile 27a, Vienna, Austria
Duration: 10 Apr 201912 Apr 2019
Conference number: 10
http://rie2019.info/

Conference

ConferenceThe 10th International Conference on Robotics in robotics in education
CountryAustria
CityVienna
Period10/04/1912/04/19
Internet address

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Keywords

  • Uncanny valley
  • virtual animals
  • appearance
  • virtual robot

Cite this

Sierra Rativa, A., Postma, M., & van Zaanen, M. (2019). The Uncanny Valley of the Virtual (Animal) Robot. 419-427. Paper presented at The 10th International Conference on Robotics in robotics in education , Vienna, Austria.